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The VFN Dozen - 12 ways to give Vermont-grown food!

December 21, 2016

Support local farm and food businesses this giving season. Perfect for procrastinators and diligent givers -- the gift of Vermont food will satisfy everyone on your list! Here are a dozen ways to give Vermont food gifts as suggested by our wonderful Network of chefs, farmers and food artisans. Happy Holidays! 


1. Mushrooms

Aspiring mushroom growers or idle foragers will love a Chestnut Fungipail from MoTown Mushrooms. It's a mushroom garden in a bucket that grows 3 months of fresh gourmet mushrooms! Stuff stockings with Maitake Bars (granola bars with caramelized maitake mushrooms) and Terrafunga Bars (chocolate bar with maitake mushrooms and nuts) from Terrafunga Mushrooms. And every cook on your list will adore a gift of dried Vermont mushrooms

2. Spirits 

Hooker Mountain Farm in Cabot just released their new line of whiskeys. Try their hand-crafted, farm-sourced Sap Whiskey distilled with farm-raised oats, corn, rye and barley - finished with maple sap and aged on maple wood!

Variety is the spice of life, and the Mad River Distillers Flask Variety Pack is perfect for any spirit enthusiast. It features Mad River Bourbon, Revolution Rye and Maple Cask Rum in a gift box. Find the gift pack at the Burlington Tasting Room!

3. Cheese 

From the mouths of experts - VFN members weigh in on their favorite cheese gifts and pairings!  

"A bottle of Hill farmstead "Twilight of the Idols" and a wheel of Jasper Hill's "Winnimere". Perfect pairing and taste of place!" 

Stefano Coppola, Morse Block Deli, Barre  

TIP --> Jasper Hill offers incredible gift boxes featuring award-winning cheese & custom made jams

"Oh gosh, so hard to decide! Eden Ice Cider is a favorite, as is VT Shepherd Invierno Cheese, as well as any of the Parish Hill Cheeses. We have so much to choose from!" 

Robyn O'Brien, Putney Food Co-op, Putney

"It's hard to pick just one because there are so many but life is better with Vermont Cheese! I would give Woodcock Farm Summer Snow Cheese - which I have been able to get through the holidays! What a treat!" 

Juliette Britton, J.J. Hapgood General Store, Peru 

"Cabot Cheddar, because you haven't had great mac n' cheese until you've had it made with Cabot!"

Kylie Stevens, Morgan's Tavern at the Middlebury Inn, Middlebury

"An extravagantly large hunk of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, because it's the King of Vermont cheeses!"

Eleanor Leger, Eden Ice Cider, Newport 

"If you want to give someone you love the very best, then Cabot Cheddar is the world's best! It is farmer-owned and giving Cabot products helps the farms here in Vermont."

Beth Kennett, Liberty Hill Farm, Rochester

(Cabot Cheddar, received three recommendations from a VFN restaurant, producer and farmer!) 

4. Meat - 4 Ways to give! 

Stocking Stuffer
"Local pasture raised meats make the perfect gift! High quality meat is a great gift for someone on your list - for folks who eat well, support local farms, and don't want more unnecessary stuff. Try no-nitrate summer sausage or bbq beef sticks as stocking stuffers."

Beth Whiting, Maple Wind Farm, Huntington

"A Month of CSA meats from Graze and Gaze Farm is a treat! Offering a wonderful variety of beef, pork and chicken."

Loretta Gaidys, Graze and Gaze Farm, Barre

Wrap it Up (in a cooler)
"We have many different meat cuts available from our farm. All meat is humanely raised here without antibiotics or hormones. We also have our own maple syrup that is made on our farm, along with sauces and more!"

Tessa Viall, Adams Farm, Wilmington

"Farm Raised Venison for that special someone who is hard to buy for and include a piece of unique antler art and jewelry - all one of a kind."

Diane Rowley, Hollandeer Farm, Holland

Gift Certificate
"Treat your loved ones to a gift certificate for Greenfield Highland Beef, any denomination!"

Janet Steward, Greenfield Highland Beef, Plainfield & Greensboro Bend, VT

5. Vermont Ice Cider

Any bottle from Eden Specialty Ciders - high quality ciders crafted with love and care, award winning and absolutely delicious. Try Heirloom Blend Ice Cider - it's the taste of Vermont in a beautiful elegant bottle, and a wonderful way to celebrate at the end of a holiday meal.

6. Maple

The gift of maple will be a hit in any household - especially if you are traveling outside Vermont! 

Maple syrup, cream, candy, almonds, and sugar from Silloway Maple in Randolph make sweet stocking stuffers or a gift box of Newhall Farm Maple Syrup is an updated classic of Vermont's iconic history!

7. Artisan Products - something for everyone! 

Bloody Mary Mix and Accoutrements: "Holiday gift giving is fulfilling not only because we have a spectacular array to choose from but also because Vermont producers are typically family-scaled and can be wrapped in stories from people and places meaningful to me. I recommend our Heirloom Mary Mix (available in quarts and pints) or Heirloom Mary Gift Basket (includes farm made lemon pickles, tomolives, dilly beans, hot sauce and optional bacon to dress up your localvore bloody)!"

Mari Omland, Green Mountain Girls Farm, Northfield 

Pasta: "Vermont Fresh pasta, ravioli and sauce make a delicious easy quick local meal anytime of year, but it can be an especially welcome gift at this busy time!"

Tricia Jarecki, Vermont Fresh Pasta, Proctorsville

Hot Chocolate: "Peppermint Hot Chocolate is holiday hot chocolate the way it should be— a refreshing blend of rich cocoa and cool peppermint. Just the thing to warm everyone up after playing outside in the snow. Perfect for a stocking stuffer!"

Meghan Fitzpatrick, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington 

Chocolate Bars: "My family's stockings will be stuffed with our tree-to-bar single origin 70% dark chocolate bars made here at 3 Squares Cafe. Chocolate makes my family happy, our chocolate farm is also home to a migratory bird preserve, and has awesome label artwork by a local artist."

Andrea LaLumiere, 3 Squares Cafe, Vergennes  

Farm Fresh Cider and Baked Goods: "We press our own Matt & Harry's Hard Cider, and we have a wonderful selection of homemade baked goods and pies. Perfect for taking to a Holiday party."

Tim Allen, Allen Brothers Inc., Westminster

8. Vermont Wine & Beer

"We're offering special gift boxes including several selections of Vermont Products that complement our wines. Choose the combo you like and then add your choice of our wines to make the perfect gift. Among our wines this year we have a whole menu of brand new releases including our Wild Louise and our Marquette Untamed, both fermented with the indigenous yeasts that found the grapes on the vine. And no holiday is complete without some bubbly: find that in our Celestial Louise.

Gail Albert, Shelburne Vineyard, Shelburne

"I would give Idletyme Brewing Company craft beer, who doesn't love craft beer for Christmas?"

Ani Petrolito, Idletyme Brewing Company, Stowe

"Try our 12 Beers of Christmas Gift Box. A selection of 12 different local craft beers (one to be opened on each of the 12 days of Christmas, advent-calendar style) is sure to please any fan of Vermont's vibrant craft beer scene!"

Peter Lafferty, Natural Provisions, Williston

9. An Experience 

Give the gift of a special farm dinner, class or event. Memories last forever! Here are a few suggestions:

Farm to Fork Dinner at Sandiwood Farm in Wolcott. A one of a kind, truly localvore meal with many courses served in a unique greenhouse.

A hands-on cooking class or tickets to a dinner event at the Inn at Weathersfield: Jan 7 - "Kimchi & More" Fermentation class with Caitlin & Jason Elberson of Sobremesa; Jan 28 - "Winterize your Body the Ayurvedic Way" with Lini Mazumdar of Anjali Farms in Londonderry; Feb. 11 - "Winter Soups & Stews" with Vermont author Molly Stevens; Feb 25 - Cocktail-paired dinner with Silo DistilleryMarch 11 - Beer & Woodcock Farm cheese dinner

A Farm Stay at Liberty Hill Farm in Rochester! Gift certificate of 2 night stay farm vacation for 2 adults, includes dinner and breakfast for $500. (Based on availability.) 

Find more farm and food event ideas at!

10. DIY Vermont Gift Basket

"We have not only gift cards, but also custom-made gift baskets. Choose from anything in the store, from craft beer, local cheese, charcuterie, or any of our house-made products."

Stefano Coppola, Morse Block Deli, Barre

"J.J. Hapgood General Store has a fabulous selection of holiday confections, specialty foods, Vermont Cheeses, Meats and gift items and is bursting at the seams with inventory!"

Juliette Britton, J.J. Hapgood General Store, Peru 

"We have beautiful house-made Holiday Cookies, pies, and a full array of Vermont made products in our Community owned store! Come in for a true taste of Vermont!"

Robyn O'Brien, Putney Food Co-op, Putney

11. A Vermont Fresh Network Restaurant Gift Certificate! 

Arguably the most perfect, easy pleasing gift. Everyone loves a night off and a delicious local meal! Find a restaurant near you or your friends and family! 

12. Vermont's Food Story on the Page 

A subscription to Edible Green Mountain Magazine makes for a wonderful gift for Vermonters and Vermont vacationers! 

Pick up "Farm to Table, The Essential Guide to Sustainable Food Systems for Students, Professionals, and Consumers" By Darryl Benjamin and Lyndon Virkler (founding VFN board member) - it's what we're reading over the holiday! 

Thank you to Flavor Plate for donating their time and effort to the design and co-development of our website.